Trendspotting: Giving Tech A 5G Rebadge

The announcement regarding the commercialisation of eICIC from SK Telecom and Nokia Networks seems to have worked in promoting the pair as pathfinders in 5G.

The news is being reported as laying ‘groundwork for 5G commercialisation’. In fact, eICIC is a feature defined squarely within LTE-A specifications. You may well also need it to successfully manage heteregenous networks which include 5G networks as part of the mix. But eICIC as 5G?

The companies claim that by bringing eICIC to market, ‘they have also moved a step closer to realising the next generation network (5G)’, billing it ‘an essential technology in the era of 5G where heterogeneous networks will become more complex’.

With the duo having recently announced plans to demo 5G in 2018 and then commercialise it two years later, any joint projects will inevitably be associated with a 5G future, but whether this is justified is a little unclear.

When companies associate a piece of existing technology with 5G, it can confuse rather than elucidate. Just last week we saw Ericsson give ‘network slicing’ a similar treatment which prompted the following response from GSMA Technical Director, Dan Warren:

The SKT/Nokia eICIC implementation will reduce interference by 15 percent in congested areas with high macro and micro cells concentration. Sounds useful, but whether it really gets us any closer to 5G commercialisation is another matter.

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